A pledge to school board effectiveness
The Lighthouse Inquiry was an extensive study conducted by the Iowa Association of School Boards on how school boards make a difference in student outcomes. The findings were clear: school districts were higher achieving when the Team of 10, which includes the school board and superintendent, had a greater understanding of, and decision-making focus on, student achievement.
The PSBA Principles for Governance and Leadership were developed out of this study and other resources to provide PSBA members with a framework that reinforces that what happens in the boardroom has direct impact on the classroom.
Pennsylvania school boards are committed to providing every student the opportunity to grow and achieve. Therefore, boards pledge to lead responsibly, act ethically, plan thoughtfully, evaluate continuously, communicate clearly, advocate earnestly and govern effectively. Learn more about the principles below and see which districts have adopted the principles through a resolution or motion at an open board meeting.
Through a policy or resolution, school boards commit to:
- Prepare for, attend and actively participate in board meetings
- Work together with civility and cooperation, respecting that individuals hold differing opinions and ideas
- Participate in professional development, training and board retreats
- Collaborate with the superintendent, acknowledging their role as the 10th member of the board and commissioned officer of the commonwealth
- Never use the position for improper benefit to self or others
- Avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest
- Recognize school directors do not possess any authority outside of the collective board
- Accept that when a board has made a decision, it is time to move forward collectively and constructively
- Implement a collaborative strategic planning process
- Set annual goals that are aligned with comprehensive plans, recognizing the need to adapt as situations change
- Develop a comprehensive financial plan and master facilities plan that anticipates short- and long-term needs
- Allocate resources to effectively impact student success
- Make data-informed decisions
- Evaluate the superintendent annually
- Conduct a board self-assessment on a recurring basis
- Focus on student growth and achievement
- Review effectiveness of all comprehensive and strategic plans
- Promote open, honest and respectful dialogue among the board, staff and community
- Acknowledge and listen to varied input from all stakeholders
- Promote transparency while protecting necessary confidential matters
- Set expectations and guidelines for individual board member communication
- Promote public education as a keystone of our commonwealth
- Engage the community by seeking input, building support networks and generating action
- Champion public education by engaging local, state and federal officials
- Establish and adhere to rules and procedures for board operations
- Develop, adopt, revise and review policy routinely
- Align board decisions to policy ensuring compliance with the PA School Code and other local, state and federal laws
- Remain focused on the role of governance, effectively delegating management tasks to the administration
Districts that have adopted the principles
The school entities listed below have committed to the Principles for Governance and Leadership. Boards can show their commitment to the principles in one of two ways.
Adopt a policy. Policies remain in effect until changed, providing for continuity even as the members of the board may change. Boards may choose to reaffirm their commitment to the policy, particularly as the makeup of the board changes, by adding a last reviewed date to the policy.
Pass a resolution/motion. This approach provides the board an additional opportunity to recommit to the principles as the makeup of the board changes. School boards passing a resolution/motion will have their status on PSBA’s active list “reset” just prior to board organization week in election years.